Have you ever heard a young woman say “I want to have a boyfriend” or “I want to be loved” or a young man express his desire for a good job? Perhaps you have said them yourself. These are not necessarily just wants and desires but are based in actual developmental needs. We often think of our needs as basic survival requirements such as food, shelter and clothing. But, our needs are much more complex than that. When our basic needs for food, shelter and clothing are satisfied, then what? Well, then we have “higher needs” that move us; our higher needs also strive towards satisfaction and are just as important as our more basic needs. Of course, our basic needs never really leave us. We continually need food, shelter and clothing. But, as we grow, we learn, in most cases, that these needs can be easily met and they take on a secondary nature to higher more pressing needs such as the need to belong, the need for esteem, the need for knowledge, the need for competency as well as several others to be discussed in the forthcoming articles.
Higher needs are more psychological and spiritual than physical. Yet, if they are not satisfied, there can be serious negative consequences to our mental, and physical, health. Our needs can be classified into three broad categories:
We are not at all aware of or the least bit interested in the psychological/emotional needs, let alone the social/spiritual, when we are not getting our biological/physical needs met. That is, no one strives for meaning in their life when they are hungry. People generally don’t volunteer their time in a community service activity when they are deeply involved in a romantic relationship. New, higher needs arise from within us when lower needs have been satisfied.
During the series of articles entitled Needs To Know, basic and higher needs, along with corresponding developmental stages we all pass through, will be outlined and some tips on how best to meet our emerging needs suggested. This information can be very useful to not only us as individuals, but to parents, managers, teachers and anyone who works with others in a supervisory role. Our behavior is often motivated by our needs and, more often than not, by unmet needs. That is, just about all behavior can be viewed as a means to satisfy needs or wants. Sometimes, adults strive to satisfy childhood or adolescent needs because those needs were never fully satisfied. Understanding the level and stages of our needs can help clarify behavior and may provide insight into how best to manage behavior.
The information in the forthcoming articles is a synthesis of information gathered from the writings of several notable figures including Abraham Maslow, Erik Erikson, Carl Jung, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Sigmund Freud and other less well known personages whose contribution, though less well recognized, are equally valued. The information presented is not something made up or novel. However, the synthesis and presentation of the material is unique and may help make academic and technical information more reader friendly and readily usable.